By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

The Smithfield Town Council is considering four options for repaving Main Street.

The town has been waiting for Columbia Gas to finish repairing and replacing its gas lines, which is anticipated for early spring of next year.

Hamtown’s unique thoroughfare has endured numerous incursions to its once earth-toned gravel surface since the town replaced its water lines earlier this year. The Town Council decided to hold up on repaving until Columbia Gas completed its work. 

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School Board questions population study it funded

By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

In a dispute over future enrollment numbers, Isle of Wight County schools superintendent Dr. James Thornton recently told developers that they could look at the modest enrollment projections for the division, or they could look at reality.

“At Smithfield High School, there are no empty classrooms,” Thornton told the Isle of Wight County Planning Commission during a public hearing concerning additional housing units at Benn’s Grant.

School building capacity in the northern end of the county has been the subject of some interest and debate between housing developers and the division in recent months, and after an unexpected surge in students this year, a lot is still unclear about exactly what kind of growth the division is anticipating in the next five years. 

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Some residents feel betrayed by plans

By Ryan Kushner

Staff Writer

The offering of a new walking trail and an additional $250,000 in amenities was not enough to calm a sea of opposition to a proposed housing unit expansion at Benn’s Grant.

Homeowners in the budding community returned to the Isle of Wight County Planning Commission for a public hearing this past week to speak out against a rezoning request from East West Communities, which is looking to add an additional 231 housing units at the property in its next phase.

Residents previously voiced a wave of discontent for the proposal in September, but the public hearing was postponed by the developers until Tuesday, Oct. 24.

East West is seeking to rezone 19.6 acres along the front of the property from commercial to residential to allow for 105 more townhouse units and 88 duplex units. The developer is also requesting 6.8 acres toward the back of the property change from open space to residential in order to add 38 condominiums between the property’s two lakes.

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By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Surry County lost its longtime cooperative extension agent in January and Isle of Wight lost its full-time agent by mid-year.

Surry’s extension position became vacant when veteran agent Glen Slade retired Jan. 1. Dr. Janet Spencer, who was Isle of Wight’s agent, is now the southeast district director who covers 33 localities.

So far, those two positions have not been filled, and the two offices are relying on agents from neighboring counties to fill in the gaps.

Meanwhile, Isle of Wight County resident Mel Atkinson complained to the Board of Supervisors at its Oct. 19 meeting about the lack of 4-H agents, who also work in the local extension offices. In the case of the Isle of Wight County 4-H agent, that individual is shared with Southampton County, he said.

Many phone calls are not being answered, Atkinson said. 

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Virginia residents are going to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 7 to elect a new governor, lt. governor and attorney general.

Running for governor is state Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, who is being challenged by Republican lobbyist Ed Gillespie. Libertarian Cliff Hyra is also on the ballot for governor. For lt. governor, Republican state Senator Jill Vogel is squaring off against Democratic assistant U.S. attorney Justin Fairfax. For attorney general, incumbent Democrat Mark Herring is being challenged by Republican attorney John Adams.

Isle of Wight County residents will also decide on who will represent them in the 64th District of the Virginia House of Delegates. Vying for the seat is Republican Emily Brewer and Democrat Rebecca Colaw. Del. Rosyln Tyler (D-75th), who represents a small portion of Isle of Wight and Surry counties, is unopposed.

Locally, the race for the Hardy District Supervisor seat is the only contested race in Isle of Wight County this election season. Herb DeGroft is challenging incumbent Supervisor Rudolph Jefferson, who is seeking a second term.

Other uncontested races include Don Rosie for Carrsville supervisor, Jackie Carr for the Carrsville seat on the Isle of Wight County School Board, and Alvin Wilson, who is seeking his first full term as Hardy District representative on the School Board.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Virginians are required to provide a valid form of photo identification. For more information, visit elections.virginia.gov

By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

The Walter Noona Trio is returning to the town of Smithfield this month, and it’s bringing the sounds of the Mediterranean with it.

The musical excursion, a special extension of the Summer Concert Series, is designed to take listeners on a melodious cruise around the Mediterranean Sea on Saturday, Nov. 11, 7 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church. The concert features songs to transport attendees from Rome to Casablanca and back home, without any chance of seasickness.

Tickets are free but are required for admission. They can be picked up at The Smithfield Times and the Isle of Wight Arts League. Seating is limited to 140. Approximately 90 tickets remained to be distributed Tuesday. 

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Traditional formats don't appeal to many prospective members

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

News that the Rescue and Battery Park Ruritan Club was dissolving due to declining membership is symptomatic of the challenge faced by many civic organizations — enticing young members to join and getting them to stay.

Every group has that problem, said Glen Schlickenmeyer, speaking for the Smithfield Ruritan Club.

“Our group is aging, like all of them are,” he said.

Jim Henderson with the Carrollton Ruritan Club was particularly excited over the prospect of a new 30-something member. Henderson, who is also with the Isle of Wight Citizens Association and the Carrollton Civic League, joked, “a young person is in their 50s.”

As for new members in their 20s, 30s or even 40s, “it’s a rarity,” Henderson said. 

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Ordinance already in place

By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

Property owners who have spent thousands of dollars installing private wells in Isle of Wight County may now be required to pay thousands more to hook up to the county’s water system.

An existing county ordinance requires that all properties located near county waterlines connect to them within one year of being notified of their availability. Residents who have received notification of a new waterline alongside their property might not be aware of the mandated connection however, because the county’s notification doesn’t state that, according to Director of Utility Services Don Jennings.

“I have a feeling that all these letters went in the trash can,” Jennings said of the county notifications at a Board of Supervisors work session Thursday.

The verbiage of the notice was adopted in 2005, according to Jennings, and merely informs residents that a new waterline is “abutting” the homeowner’s property, but does not specify that hooking up to it is mandatory. 

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By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Isle of Wight County has one of the highest on-time graduation rates in the Hampton Roads region, according to the Virginia Department of Education.

The division’s rate of 93.8 percent of on-time graduates exceeds the state average of 91.1 percent and trails only York and Poquoson in the region, according to Isle of Wight County schools.

At Windsor High School, 96.6 percent of the class of 2017 earned a Board of Education approved diploma, and 92.7 percent from Smithfield’s most recent graduating class earned the same.

The graduation rate for all IWCS subgroups, including economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities and black students, also exceeded the state average for each subgroup. 

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Edna Felts Myers

 

Edna Felts Myers, 96, passed away on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015 in her home. She is preceded in death by her husband, Luther Power Myers. Edna leaves to cherish her memories her son, Robert Hall. A graveside service will be held Friday, Aug. 7, 11 a.m. in St. Luke’s Memorial Park with the Rev. Mike Frank officiating. A special thank you to Marilyn Oliver and Joe Brown for all their love and support. The family request memorial contributions to VFW POST 8545, PO Box 461, Smithfield, VA 23431.

Service arrangements are in the care of Colonial Funeral Home, Carrollton, Smithfield, Isle of Wight and the surrounding communities.  Family and friends are encouraged to share condolences and remembrances at colonialfuneralhomesmithfield.com.

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